News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Monday, June 23, 2008

RICO used against rentals to illegal entrants

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PLAINFIELD, N.J. — A federal lawsuit using a novel method to challenge a landlord's right to rent to illegal immigrants is stoking tensions that have been rising for years in this diverse city of 50,000 south of Newark.

A prominent group that opposes illegal immigration sued a Plainfield property management company this month, seeking to set a legal precedent by using anti-racketeering legislation to crack down on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants.

The suit alleges the company has so many undocumented tenants in its buildings that it constitutes unlawful harboring and should be considered by the courts as a criminal enterprise that encourages illegal immigration.

The suit was brought by the Immigration Reform Law Institute — the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform — against Connolly Properties on behalf of a former Connolly employee and two tenants who are U.S. citizens.

The tenants allege that they were steered into buildings occupied by illegal immigrants who were too afraid about their legal status to complain about decrepit conditions, according to Mike Hethmon, a lawyer for the group that filed the suit.

Flor Gonzalez, head of the Plainfield-based Latin American Coalition, worries that her city may become the latest battleground in the nationwide debate over immigration. The suit comes as tensions over the city's large immigrant population are rising to a boil, she said, with police ticketing day laborers, a recent spate of beatings and robberies of immigrants, and raids by federal immigration officials.

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